Series: Goth Girl, Book Two
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Published: 25th September 2014
Number of Pages: 224
Genre: Historical, Steampunk, Fantasy, Mystery, Gothic, Action-Adventure, MG
Recommended Age: 9+
Author's Site: Riddell
Preparations are under way for the Full-Moon Fete and the Great Ghastly-Gorm Bake Off.
Celebrity cooks are arriving at the hall for the big event, and as usual Maltravers is acting suspiciously. On top of all this, Ada’s elusive lady’s maid Marlebone has a surprising secret, and everyone seems to have forgotten Ada’s birthday!
“Ada was exited too, but she couldn't shake the feeling that something strange was going on; she was worried about Marylebone, and it was her birthday in two days, which everyone had most likely forgotten again. It had put her in rather a funny mood.”
Ghastly-Gorm Hall is extremely busy, preparing for the Full-Moon Fete. Ada Goth's friends are soon wrapped up in the preparations, setting up for the Great Ghastly-Gorm Bake Off and welcoming famous chefs and artists.
But Ada is once again growing suspicious of Maltravers and has just met her lady's maid for the first time, discovering her long-kept secret. Ada wants to find out what on earth Maltravers is up to and how to help her lady's maid – but how is she meant to do that without the Attic Club's help?
Perhaps the charming and mysterious new guest, Lord Sydney Whimsy, can help her get to the bottom of the curious going-ons at Ghastly-Gorm Hall...
I adored the first Goth Girl book (see my review: here!), so knew I wanted to read Fete Worse Than Death as soon as humanely possible. But even I wasn't expecting how fast 'as soon as humanely possible' turned out to be. I read Fete Worse Than Death in a single sitting, gobbling it up as Team GB kicked arse in the Paralympics on the TV. I just love this series so much! I love the silly literary and culture references, I love the bonkers characters and zany plot and most of all I love those gorgeous gorgeous illustrations. I wish I had little people around to read to, because this is just the most perfect reading aloud book ever and I am just totally in love.
Once again, may I comment on the brilliantly odd characters in this series? I can? Marvellous. First up: Ada. She is a brilliant lead character – kind and quirky and unusual and brave. I also love Lucy Borgia, because she is just such a badass – a duelling umbrella wielding badass of a governess. Lord Stanley was an interesting character – mysterious, charming and amusing, he was a fun character to have in the book, even if I wasn't entirely sure what he was up to half the time... Oh and Marylebone was so very sweet – and her book at the back was just adorable! Many of us will see certain... parallels to a certain book about a rather well known bear, but the literary puns and parallels just make me adore this series (and Marylebone) even more.
The list of characters was even more bonkers in FWtD than it was in GoaM, ranging from chefs Mary Huckleberry and her manservant Hollyhead to Mr Tumnus a cabinet-making faun. I do think maybe more effort went into the (admittedly hilarious) references than into characterisation – but this is a book for children, so I forgive that. Plus the references were so very funny that I really didn’t mind much.
Chris Riddell's writing was brilliant – easy to understand but still wonderfully descriptive (helped, of course, by those gorgeous illustrations – more on that later). It really is the perfect reading out loud book – the kids will love the fun storyline and quirky characters and the parents will love all the puns and references. It's just so much fun to read – and so easy too. As proven by the speed with which I read it...
Now we're onto my favourite part – those beautiful, beautiful illustrations! They are just so stunning and atmospheric and perfect and gorgeous and I love them to pieces. Chris Riddell is a master with both brush and words and I adore him and Goth Girl both!
While I didn't enjoy Fete Worse Than Death quite as much as Ghost of a Mouse, I still utterly adored it and totally recommend it – both for parents to read to their children and for everyone else to read too. These books are just so much fun and are so very beautiful – I'm so in love with this series! Gimme Wuthering Fright right now! I need it so very much!
4 Out of 5
4 Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine
Wells & Wong by Robin Stevens